Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Psychoactive Medicine: The Third Wave of Psychedelics by Laurie Maddox
Entheogens include a variety of substances referred to as hallucinogens, psychedelics, and sacred plant medicines. The term “entheogen” was introduced by Carl Ruck as an alternative to more pejorative terms such as “hallucinogen” and “psychedelic”. In Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Mark Hoffman and Carl Ruck define entheogen as “any substance that, when ingested, catalyzes or generates an altered state of consciousness deemed to have spiritual significance.” Similarly, Stanislav Grof has described psychedelics as "nonspecific amplifiers of consciousness".
The historical and current use of psychedelics demonstrate their spiritual significance and indicate that many can be taken safety when used ceremonially. The substances remain illegal in many countries, but in the US these bans are being challenged when taken as part of one's religious practice, based on the belief that hallucinogenic plants and substances have medicinal value, previously denied.
In a few countries, including the US, certain uses and practices are accommodated though the US drug law exemption. The use of peyote and ayahuasca, for example have been granted limited immunity by the DEA within certain religious and racial groups, such as Native Americans and Santo Daime. A genuine respect for religious freedom as guaranteed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the US Consti